Composer-pianist Leo Ornstein visits with Charles Amirkhanian on the occasion of his 100th birthday! Severo Ornstein, the son of the composer, is in the studio with Amirkhanian to provide commentary, while Leo Ornstein and another near centenarian, Nicolas Slonimsky, are interviewed by phone. The discussion centers on Ornsteins early history as a Wunderkind pianist in the 1910s, and his enormous output of music over nine decades of composing. Slonimsky details a recent revival of Ornsteins music in his native Russia and Severo talks of his efforts to get Ornsteins music back into print.
Ornstein Centenary Program, Part 1 highlights:
Ornsteins son Severo is in the KPFA studio for the centenary celebration. They explain that Ornstein came to the States as a boy, and quickly became the enfant terrible of the piano world of the 1910s, introducing works by Schoenberg, Debussy, Ravel, Albeniz and himself, among many others.
Performance of Echo Primitiv from 9 Arabesques for Piano, Op. 42, composed 1918-1920, by pianist Marthanne Verbit.
First American broadcast of Suicide in an Airplane, composed in 1913 and performed here from the Dutch radio station VPRO, recorded on March 16, 1991.
Excerpt from Ornsteins Piano Concerto, composed 1925, with William Wesney, piano, and the Yale University Symphony Orchestra. Ornstein gave the original performance at the piano with Leopold Stokowski conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra. This is an exceptional work in Ornsteins oeuvre, as he composed mainly for the piano.
Pianist Michael Sellers performs The Battle, the eighth of ten pieces from the Poems of 1917, Op. 41 (from an Orion recording).
Flautist Barbara Chaffee and pianist Marvin Tartak perform the Poem for Flute & Piano, recorded November 7, 1988, at a San Francisco Contemporary Music Players concert.
Ornstein Centenary Program, Part 2 highlights:
Discussion of Hebraic Fantasy for Violin & Piano, composed in 1929 for the occasion of Albert Einsteins 50th birthday, and originally performed for him by Leo Ornstein.
Hebraic Fantasy for Violin & Piano, performed by Daniel Stepner and Marthanne Verbit at American Hall in New York, December 1982.
Performance of 1st movement of String Quartet #2, Op. 99, by the Pro Arte Quartet at St. Norberts College in Green Bay, Wisconsin for the celebration of Ornsteins 95th birthday in 1987.
Interview with musicologist Nicolas Slonimsky. After some phone problems, Slonimsky explains that he recently spent five weeks in Russia. He delivered much of Ornsteins piano music to his nephew, the composer Sergey Slonimsky (nine symphonies, etc.), who would be disseminating the music for an Ornstein centenary celebration. Discussion of Slonimskys ongoing work with new editions of Bakers Dictionary of Musicians, and Music since 1900.
Excerpt from beginning of 2nd movement of String Quartet #3 (1976), performed by the New Boston Quartet from a 1976 Serenus recording (SRS 12089), now out of print.
Performance of Tarantelle by William Westney, piano, at St. Johns Smith Square, London, on March 20, 1989.
All Other Minds programs available, with additional print and photo materials, at http://www.radiOM.org.